Murphy said Monday at a news conference he ordered indoor gatherings to fall from 25 to 10 and outdoor get-togethers from 500 to 150 people. The new indoor limit went into effect 6 a.m. Tuesday, while the outdoor level kicks in Nov. 23.
Religious services, celebrations, political events, weddings, funerals, memorial services and performances may continue under the current rules, but are limited to 25% of a room's capacity, up to 150 people, Murphy said in a tweet.
The following indoor gatherings may continue under the current rules – limited to 25% of a room’s capacity, up to 150 people:— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) November 16, 2020
☑️Religious services/celebrations and political events
"We think those are steps, coupled with the other steps we have taken, which will hopefully begin to shake these numbers down," he told MSNBC. "This is a lot of fatigue. It's a lot of private setting transmission. Particularly with the holidays coming up, we've got to plead with people to not let their hair down, to be vigilant, social distance, face coverings, all the basic stuff we know works."
The lower levels come just before Thanksgiving and ahead of the winter holidays.
Murphy said he understood that the new limits would lead to frustration, but said little about this year has been normal.
"I must again pull back the reins," he said. "It gives me no joy."
New Jersey's coronavirus levels have been spiking, which Murphy has said amounts to a "second wave."
The average increase over the first seven days of this month reached roughly 2,135, up from about 590 cases a day in early October. The average caseload increase for the first week of September was nearly 340 cases, according to state Health Department figures.
There are some exceptions to the limits, the governor said. Among them are religious services, political activities and weddings.
Murphy said the tighter limits are aimed at limiting house parties, which he said contribute to climbing COVID-19 rates.
On Monday, Murphy announced 2,232 new cases and 14 additional deaths.
NEW: We’re reporting 2,232 new positive #COVID19 cases.— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) November 16, 2020
In just four days, we’ve increased our cumulative total by 14,566 to 281,493. pic.twitter.com/6GWPikz9Jz
On Sunday, the state reported more than 4,500 new cases, setting a record for the second day in a row.
he high case count brings the overall total since the start of the pandemic to 281,493.
"These numbers are alarming and concerning, to say the least. Wear a mask. Social distance. Stay safe," Murphy said.
Last week, new statewide dining restrictions went into effect, putting a late-night curfew on indoor dining and eliminating barside seating at all times.
Camden County has been one of the hardest-hit counties in our area recently, reporting 400 new cases Sunday.
Last week, the county opened up a COVID testing site at Camden County College in Cherry Hill because of increased demand.
"I want to be responsible. I want everyone to be safe, so I canceled my party. In terms of Thanksgiving, we're all going to keep it low key," said Dr. Alicea Davis of Camden.
Murphy spoke virtually with governors in surrounding states Sunday night.
"Together, we will follow the science, keep our region safe, and save lives," Murphy said.
Just spoke with @NYGovCuomo, @GovNedLamont, @GovernorTomWolf, and @JohnCarneyDE about how we can continue working together to beat back the second wave of #COVID19. Together, we will follow the science, keep our region safe, and save lives. pic.twitter.com/ubyBjlsy2B— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) November 16, 2020
Despite a surge in cases in Camden County, students in the Cherry Hill School District went back to the classroom on November 17 on a hybrid schedule.
To learn more about the district's hybrid learning schedule, CLICK HERE
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.